Friday, October 14, 2011

Help for Writers, Hurt for Writers

There is a great website maintained by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) with some assistance from the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and the Romance Writers of America (RWA).  It is called Writer Beware, and it exists to provide information to budding writers about the publishing industry, agents, and those seemingly ubiquitous slime who prey on the unwary with scams. There is a particularly disturbing undercurrent going on, about which Writer Beware has posted.  There is a group out there, about which you can read in the posting (highlighted on the words "disturbing undercurrent"), which has apparently dedicated itself to attacking anyone who would perform "watchdog" services for writers by pointing out scams and schemes of which they need to beware.  I am not going to mention their name here: I do not feel like it.

On Goodreads, they had posted unfavorable criticism of the books written by people affiliated with Writer Beware, including people who merely commented on the blog postings to thank Writer Beware for alerting them to scams.  They consisted not in literary critique of the work in question, but in a one-liner saying that the book had been "banned."  I always have a problem with someone who adversely remarks on a book (or movie or other form of art) without having first READ or VIEWED the thing!  As a former librarian, I also have a problem with anyone who would presume to set themselves up as censors.

But there is one tactic they have proposed which I find deeply disturbing, even the mere mention of it: They said they were going to organize a book-burning of books by authors whom they had put on their "propaganda watch list."   Again, these are all writers who are affiliated with Writer Beware, even if only having made a comment on a blog posting.

Even today, more than 65 years after the end of World War II, the phrase book-burning conjures up one image:  See it here.

Enough said that these people have put themselves in with some extremely unsavory company.

1 comment:

  1. They've got a ban list? Seriously? Writer Beware has been around for years doing good work for the writing community. TWA sounds like a single demented person.

    As a great American, Bugs Bunny, would say:"What a maroon!"